Fulfilling a Childhood Dream at the Happiest Place on Earth
The happiest place on Earth just celebrated the 50th anniversary of one of the most iconic attractions — The Haunted Mansion. This Disneyland ride became notorious for its sinister art, creepy narration and spooky ghouls. And just in time for the anniversary, one of the voice actors from the ride revealed some fun facts about becoming one of Disneyland’s most notable characters.
Kat Cressida — also known as “The Bride” named Constance Hatchaway on The Haunted Mansion — revealed in an exclusive interview what her experience was like when she became an official member of the Disney universe. “It was a tremendous honor,” Cressida said. “Mostly in life we’re just lucky enough to have the opportunities that come to us we can’t pick or necessarily choose from; you can hope and dream for them.” Fans of the ride might recall the portraits of Constance that show each of her husbands in the attic where the grooms’ heads disappear. When Constance gives her “I do,” an axe shows up in her hand and disappears again.
Cressida had a father who worked in Disney Imagineering and she spent a lot of her childhood at the parks. It was because of the voices she heard throughout the park that made her want to get into voice acting. As she began her career as a voice-over artist, Cressida worked on several television projects, including Dexter’s Laboratory and Archer. She also became a notable name in other parts of the Disney universe, including the voice of Jessie from Toy Story 2 in Disney on Ice and the Little Girl Lost in The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
When Cressida was growing up, she dreamed that one day her wish of becoming a Disney attraction would come true. “Like most little kids, you sort of have this wish fulfillment magical thinking of ‘If only I could live in Disneyland, if only I could be a part of Disneyland.’ So when that happened, it was life-changing,” she said. “Because now all of a sudden this dream that I always wished on [had] happened.”
Before Cressida landed the role of The Bride in 2006, she auditioned for the part not knowing what the role was yet. There were some hints that were told to her, but only enough to give her a small idea of what she was going in for. “I was very young, and very excited and passionate and bouncing off the walls. I didn’t sleep the night before the callback,” she said. “I was wired and nervous and eager and I just wanted to get it right. And as anybody who knows who’s an actor, they give you all this great information, but then there’s also some interpretation that goes on where hopefully you’re just bringing them what they’re looking for. And I really wanted to bring them what they were looking for.”
“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I feel unbelievably lucky to have been the person selected,” she added.
Now that the mansion has celebrated its 50th anniversary, Cressida feels incredibly humbled by how many people continue to honor the magic of what Walt Disney created. “I hope that for all of these celebrations, however they are, whatever they are, what Walt worked so hard to create was this tremendous entertainment filled with all these amazing stories. And hopefully that inspires future generations of imagineers and storytellers to do the same — which is to take audiences from one place to another with a beautiful story.”
The fans who celebrated at Disneyland in Anaheim have a lot to be grateful for. Disney became something so remarkable that it will live on forever — all because of the public’s love for it. Cressida said this is why Walt Disney never stopped creating entertainment. “It’s because of the fans’ response to Walt’s parks that Walt continued to invest and create,” Cressida said. “And the mansion came along 14 years after the park opened. And the reason he kept investing more passion and storytelling into it was because the fans’ response was so passionate. So it is because of the guests that all these amazing attractions exist.”
“[Walt] always hoped that someone would have an incredible experience. You’re not going on a ride, you’re going on an attraction and it’s taking you through an experience.”
For more information on Kat Cressida, visit her Twitter and Instagram page @KatCressida, where she gives a bunch of fun facts about Disney and the parks.
You can also watch her TEDx Talks video at the link below: